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1.82 Billion People Will Use Messaging Apps In 2017

The growth in reliance on messaging platforms will likely see more marketers experimenting with chatbot communication.

Over 1.82 billion people will use messaging apps like WeChat and Facebook Messenger this year, according to a report from eMarketer — a 15.5 percent year-over-year increase that underscores the crucial role messaging platforms and chatbots can play in brand/consumer interactions.

Per the report, an estimated 243 million mobile users worldwide will start using these apps this year —with the majority of new users coming from Brazil, China, India, Indonesia, and the U.S.

Some marketers may already be aware of the growing reliance on messaging apps over texting, particularly amongst younger demographics: For instance, a majority of Gen-Z teens (52 percent) say they spend three or more hours per day on messaging apps — but texting doesn’t rank in their top three mobile activities at all, according to research from Think With Google.

Real-Time Marketing, Chatbots, And More

So, what do brands need to know about communicating with these mobile natives — and consumers worldwide who are gravitating towards messaging apps?

Firstly, real-time matters: Part of the appeal of messaging apps is the feeling of connecting in real time; across the board, users can see when a photo or message has delivered, been opened, and when a respondent is typing or sending a response. Plenty of these apps also enable video chat. In general, this personal, instantaneous connection is something that marketers should aim to facilitate across all channels in their marketing efforts.

Secondly, this growing expectation for real-time, one-to-one conversation is part of the reason that messaging app chatbots have become so successful with teens in particular — and brands can take advantage. Take, for example, CoverGirl’s “KalaniBot,” a chatbot inspired by one of the brand’s key influencers. People engage with the bot to ask questions about products on social media — and the KalaniBot now sees 14x more engagement than the actual live Kalani did when she engaged in promotions on Instagram and Snapchat.

As Masthead Media’s Amanda Pressner Kreuser put it in an article for Inc., “the evolution of chatbots makes them ideal for marketing or as an alternative way to distribute media. If they are scripted well, these bots can mimic a conversation with a customer in a tone that reflects the brand’s identity.”

About The Author
Lauryn Chamberlain Lauryn Chamberlain @laurynchamberla

Lauryn Chamberlain is the Associate Editor of GeoMarketing.com. A New York City based journalist, she specializes in stories related to retail, dining, hospitality, and travel.